JESUS CHRIST TO HAVE FIRST PLACE IN EVERYTHING
“He has delivered us from the authority of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His Beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in Him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the Church, and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that HE HIMSELF MIGHT HAVE THE FIRST PLACE IN EVERYTHING. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of the cross, through Him I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Col. 1:13-20)
It is abundantly clear that God desires our Lord Jesus to have the first place in everything. We may talk about “Renewal and Restoration” and it is obvious that the Body of Christ needs both, yet we have tremendous inability to give our King first place in our personal lives and in our “churches”.
In order to give Jesus the first place, your will and mine need to be voluntarily surrendered to Him, so that He might live His life in us in reality. THE WORD OF CHRIST MUST THEREFORE BECOME OUR FINAL WORD. We have to learn to give Him the pre-eminence and to focus our minds on His sayings, His way of life and the example of His life on earth. Jesus is Lord of all. His Lordship extends over all scripture, and we are not at liberty to take any teaching from the Bible and use it to contradict the Word of Christ. We must also examine our traditions and reject those that do not have their origin in Him.
Jesus gave specific instructions to His apostles, but over the centuries His commands have been gradually abandoned through the subtle deceptions of Satan. The instructions of the King have been replaced by the doctrines and traditions of religious organizations, and these have become the accepted standards of Christendom.
Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples for Him and His Kingdom, not members of our own choice of churches and religious organizations (the emphasis is mine)
Jesus commanded His disciples to bring new disciples under His government by teaching them to do all the things that He had commanded them. (Matt. 28:19-20) Why then do we openly defy our King by making “church members” of over 40,000 different denominations, sects or groups, which only exist because the founders or leaders are divided over their differing beliefs and teachings?
The unpalatable truth is that not one group obeys the Lord’s commands, for if they did, they would not denominate themselves, and all their converts would be taught TO DO all the things that Jesus taught His first disciples.
Christian leaders are often so busy building their structures, conducting their services, and teaching whatever their group believes, that the words of Christ which do not fit into their concepts, are overlooked or ignored. Their concepts of Christianity are usually very sincerely held, but they are unaware that they are bound in the deceptions of Babylon.
Viewed from His viewpoint we are all rebels, defiantly pursuing our own way, instead of His Way. Our seminaries and Bible schools perpetuate this unwitting rebellion, because traditional systems, structures and beliefs have more control over our minds than the Word of Christ.
We believe IN Christ, but without being aware of it we have actually reached the point where we generally do not BELIEVE Christ. All of us need to review our theological pride and presumption in thinking that we have the right answers, and test our beliefs and practices by the Word of Christ.
Do we love Jesus? Do we do what He says? “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me… If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word… He who does not love Me does not keep My words…” (See In. 14:21-24)
We must become very conscious of the fact that when Jesus said these things He was not referring to scripture. He was referring to His words. Those that He was speaking to His disciples, and which He clearly states are THE WORD OF GOD.
“The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s Who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.” (Jn. 14:24-25)
If we sincerely desire to give the Lord Jesus Christ the first place in everything, we must repent of our ideas of what we should believe and teach. We must return to the doctrine of Christ. We must also rediscover the New Testament meaning of the Word of God.
Without the Scriptures we would have no intellectual way of knowing what Jesus taught, or what God requires of us, since we live nearly two thousand years after the resurrection of Christ. That the Scriptures were inspired by God, and in that sense, that He is their author is a fact, and not debatable for those of us who have been born again of God’s Spirit.
To call the Bible the Word of God in the sense that He inspired the individual writers, is not wrong, yet through our continual use of this phrase to describe the Scriptures, we have, to an alarming degree, lost our ability to understand what these words mean where they are written in the New Testament. The enemy takes innocent concepts and subtly twists them so that they eventually become erroneous, and we lose sight of truth. This is how he overcomes the saints on such a huge scale and keeps us bound in Babylon. It is not blatant sin that is our problem, but the subtle deceptions of Satan that bind God’s people and prevent us from escaping his city.
Before millions of Christians can be set free from the deceptions of Babylon, they need their minds to be renewed in this area. For many of us, especially “fighting fundamentalists” and “Word people” (incidentally part of my personal background) it is heresy to point out what follows. However, if you are a sincere seeker after truth, and you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, you will find it correct, however unpalatable it may seem at first.
We have become so accustomed to calling the Bible the Word of God, that when we read this phrase in the New Testament, we immediately think of the Scriptures. As a result we cannot understand what we are reading, because almost without exception, “The Word” or “The Word of God” always refers to Jesus or HIS MESSAGE when you read these phrases in the New Testament. Until you understand this, and therefore comprehend what you are reading, you will be most subtly deceived and not be able to do what God has said.
Christianity has deviated so far off course, that those of us who desire to give Jesus the first place in everything, have no alternative but to abandon the whole mess, and start again. It is impossible to build on the rubble of our past experience, because the traditional understandings of Babylon are in that rubble, and must be excluded from the new foundations.
“No foundation can be laid except that which is Jesus Christ” wrote the apostle Paul. Yet in 40 years of Christian experience and investigation of many denominations, I have never found one group which in their foundational teaching instructs new believers to do everything that Jesus taught.
New converts are usually told to read the bible, pray, attend meetings and witness to others. They are then instructed in the beliefs and doctrines of the group they join. By contrast Jesus clearly commanded His apostles to make disciples and teach them to do everything He had taught them. When did our King change His instructions? If He says that His teachers must teach others to do what He said, we are rebels if we disobey.
We are built on the wrong foundation and can never grow into the fullness of Christ as a result. It is only “the pure milk of Jesus’ Words” that makes us grow to spiritual maturity, according to the apostle Peter, and if anybody knew the truth it must have been the first apostles. Jesus said:
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:24,25)
In those days when a man was carrying his cross to his crucifixion, he was to all intents and purposes a dead man. He had lost all his rights and the control of his own life. When Jesus tells us to deny ourselves He is saying that we must die to self and surrender our wills to Him if we want to follow Him and share in the life of God. Only when we surrender our souls, with all their selfish desires, to the reign of the Spirit of Christ, will we give the Lord Jesus Christ the first place in everything.